Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, is one of the most prominent leaders in the U.S. lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights movement. Carey, who came to the Task Force in 2004 as deputy executive director, has served as executive director since 2008. Through her leadership she has advanced a vision of fairness and justice for LGBT people and their families that is broad, inclusive and unabashedly progressive.
Some of the Task Force's successes during Carey's tenure include being a key player in passage of the LGBT-inclusive federal hate crimes prevention law; the defeat of multiple anti-LGBT ballot measures across the country; the creation and implementation of the New Beginning Initiative coalition, which secures federal administrative policy changes to improve the lives of LGBT people and their families; and the release of the largest-ever study on transgender discrimination in the U.S.
Under her guidance the Task Force has also launched an Online Academy bolstering grassroots power by providing electronic access to its signature training programs; expanded its faith work through the Institute for Welcoming Resources, increasing the number of welcoming and affirming congregations to well over 4,000; and played a vital role in getting the U.S. Census Bureau to report married same-sex couples in the 2010 census. The Task Force also hosts the National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change. It is the largest convening of LGBT activists and supporters in the country and serves as a driving force for strategy and organizing on LGBT issues.
Prior to coming to the Task Force, Carey worked extensively in HIV/AIDS prevention and in the LGBT community as one of the co-founders of Gay Men and Lesbians Opposing Violence and the founding executive director of the National Youth Advocacy Coalition. She has also served as an advisor to major donors and foundations and has served on the advisory boards for such wide-ranging publications as Teen People magazine and the Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law. Carey earned her master's degree in public administration from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.